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Tandem Powered offers a full suite of Professional Resume Writing, Career Development, and HR / Business Consulting services.


Tandem Powered's blog is dedicated to empowering readers by highlighting best practices in the arena of resume writing, career development, and organizational effectiveness, as well as by providing readers with an insider's view of the corporate hiring process.

Civilian Perceptions of Military Experience

Kent Nolen

During a recent project with a separating Service Member, I received this note: “I’ve heard that some people view military experience as separate from 'real-world' experience. For example, I tell people I have 8 years of experience as a network administrator because I did it for 5 years in the military and 3 years in the private sector. The response I received was that the 5 years of military experiences doesn’t count because it is not real-world.”

First off, I felt the need to apologize to this client that potential employers might not value experience gained through military service as much as they should. Personally, I find that very frustrating. But I have a feeling it is not because these employers don’t honor our Service Members (I sincerely hope that is not the case). Instead, I think they simply don’t understand military experience. Here is why...

Many of the Veterans and separating Service Members I work with come to me with resumes that are so dense with military jargon that they may as well be written in a foreign language. As is the case with any specialized field – from IT to Transport Logistics – it is your job as the applicant to communicate your skills in a way that enables readers across all levels to easily grasp your experience and impact.

If you want your experience to be valued, you have to make it clear that it is valuable. If you’ve done that, and a potential employer still does not honor the experience, consider yourself quite lucky that you won’t be part of that organization. I promise there is a better fit out there.